Monday, August 20, 2012


Julian Assange, he's in the news quite a bit at the moment isn't he? I remember hearing about Wikileaks for the first time and thinking "hmm, that sounds good, a website that wants to expose a lot of the nasty shit that's going on in the world". I also thought "shit name", but that's beside the point.

I didn't pay much attention to Julian Assange, because what his website was doing seemed rather more important than him.

Now, that Mr Assange is in the news not because of the website he founded, but because of him. Him, Julian Assange. Not Wikileaks. Not even Julian Assange: Founder of Wikileaks.

Julian Assange is in the news because he's facing extradition from the UK. He's facing extradition from the UK because he has been charged, in Sweden, with sexual assault. Instead of saying "okay, I'll face those allegations" he appears to be hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Yesterday he appeared on the first floor balcony of the embassy and made a speech. The part of the speech which the UK media seems to be mostly reporting on is JA's desire to be left alone by the USA who, he says, are witch-hunting him.

So, wait, what? He's trying to get Ecuador to provide him asylum so that the USA can't bring him in for a bollocking about Wikileaks? That's what it's all about?

No. No Julian Assange. You may be right. It may be that if you're extradited to Sweden you'll be more likely to end up in the hands of a chap from the CIA (not Cardiff International Arena, the other one). But you know what this looks like to me? It looks like someone hiding from allegations of sexual assault by using his work as Guardian Protector of Freedom of Speech to deflect attention away from things he may or may not have been up to which are somewhat less noble.

He may currently be innocent (and remains so until proven guilty, regardless of what evidence the shouty inhabitants of Twitter drag up which suggests otherwise) but by shying away from facing the consequences he's doing a damn good job of making himself look guilty. I think, were I in this position (centre of an enormous media furore, holed up with a country whose track record on freedom of speech seems somewhat at odds with the ideals of Wikileaks) I'd want to clear my name. Even if it may lead to some more problems for him and nasty treatment post-trial.

I haven't watched the balcony speech, but the way it's been reported makes it sound like Assange either can't separate himself from Wikileaks (which is disconcerting) or doesn't want to (which is also disconcerting, but not for the same reason).

Either way, in the hierarchy of balcony speeches, I don't think Mr Assange's is one that's gone too well. I look forward to the UK finding a way to get him over to Sweden, and hopefully to Sweden sticking to their word and not letting the USA get their hands on him.

Freedom of speech is important, but it's not worth protecting an alleged rapist over, isn't that obvious?


  1. After his speech was applauded and there was some quiet, apparently someone piped up in a Terry Jones voice, "He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy."
    Truth, justice, freedom. All noble. I imagine his children miss him outside of all that's going on, and to delay a process which could prove you innocent, if that's the actual truth, seems unfair on them. IMHO.

  2. Anyone who runs away hiding and trying to say "the big boys are picking on me" shouldn't start that kind of fight. I'm all for free speech but you should take the consequences of your beliefs, those 3 amazingly poised women from pussy riot are ideal examples of that.

    He's a coward. He should face the charges against him like a man not a mouse, sweden is hardly a 3rd world hellhole.

    And people should stop blindly following the pathetic excuse for a human being. Respect wikileaks if you must but he should step aside as he's dragging it down.

    Rant over!

  3. You have hit the nail on the head, fair and square.

    Because I've been too busy elsewhere I haven't really followed the news, but the one thing that baffled me was what Wikileaks had to do with the rape allegations.

    Now thanks to your summing-up, it makes perfect sense. Assange knows how popular Wikileaks is. But using it to protest his innocence? Methinks the man protests too much.

  4. What I found weird was how Ecuador granted asylum, it should be because he faces persecution in his home country. Australia. So how that links to Sweden is tenuous. Intrigued to see what he does now, how does he get out of the country without being arrested?